Are you looking for a new work from home career? Do you love reading and often spot mistakes? If yes, making money as a proofreader could be right for you. This article is going to show you how to become a proofreader with no experience.
Read on to find out what a proofreader actually does, why it’s a great remote career and how to get well-paid entry level proofreading jobs. And another great point is, you don’t need a degree or qualification to get started.
According to statistics, 7.5 million blog posts and over 2,700 new books are launched every day which need the eyes of a proofreader. Bloggers, entrepreneurs, website owners, authors and big brands will pay you to correct their mistakes.
What is a Proofreader?
Proofreaders get paid to check text before it goes to print and is published. They correct spelling, punctuation and grammar errors and check the copy is formatted as it should be.
Some people confuse proofreading and copyediting. The main differences are:
- A copy editor checks spelling and grammar, but can also make big changes like rewriting or deleting sections and restructuring an entire piece
- A proofreader is the last check before the publish button is pushed. They find any spelling, punctuation and grammar mistakes that have been missed
Do Proofreaders Make Good Money?
When searching how to become a proofreader with no experience, you might be wondering what the pay is like? The average proofreader salary in the United Kingdom is £22,942 according to Payscale. As experience grows, this salary can go up to £25,025 or more, depending on who you work for.
It’s possible to earn more than this if you branch into a specialised area and set up as a freelance proofreader. A speciality could be proofreading medical documents, business books or even romance novels for example.
Can You Be a Proofreader Without a Degree?
An English degree or bachelor’s degree is NOT needed to become a proofreader. Many successful proofreaders have never been to college at all.
But, you will need a proficient command of the English language. The job requires you to correct bad spelling and recognise grammar mistakes that others have missed.
How to Become a Proofreader with No Experience (7 Steps to Success)
1. Build the Right Skills
The first step in learning how to become a proofreader with no experience is building the right skills. Don’t worry if you don’t know everything perfectly in the beginning, you will get better with practice. The skills to work on include:
Strong Written English Skills
Proofreaders need to know how to write perfect written English. This job requires you to spot spelling, grammar and punctuation mistakes, as well as understand formatting.
Good Time Management
As a freelance proofreader, you’ll be working from home and managing your own schedule. Some projects may come all at once and will need to be finished quickly. Good time management is needed to get the work done to an agreed deadline.
Attention to Detail
Proofreaders must have a strong attention to detail, spotting mistakes that someone else hasn’t. This means studying each sentence and paragraph with a fine tooth comb. Anything that gets missed is on your shoulders, as you’re the last check before publish!
Ability to Concentrate
The life of a proofreader demands concentrated attention for long periods of time. You must be able to focus on the task at hand and stay sharp.
2. Decide on a Niche
It’s possible to earn a living as a general proofreader or in a more specialised niche. If you have a background in a subject, this could be your ticket to making yourself stand out. The main types of proofreaders include:
- General proofreader. Bloggers, content creators, business owners and agencies pay general proofreaders to make sure their work is the best it can be
- Specialised proofreader. Specialist niches include book proofreading and proofreading documents for the medical, business and technical industries
3. Understand Style Guides
You must learn English grammar rules to become a successful proofreader. Of course, there are many free tools to improve writing that help you with the job. But, you’ll get more done understanding the basics yourself.
A style guide is a manual of style, setting the standard for writing, formatting, grammar rules and design. There are multiple style guides out there and each client will use a different one, depending on their background. Take a look at some popular style guides here.
4. Practice, Practice, Practice
If you’re new to the proofreading world, the only way to get better is to practice! We all pick up bad mistakes which are hard to get rid of. By studying proofreading, you can become aware of these and get better every day.
The easiest way to practice is to read, a lot. Keep your eye out for mistakes and make a mental note of how you could make the text better.
Ask friends and family if you can proofread their emails, letters and documents for free. Next, take free proofreading tests to find out what you need to work on:
5. Take a Proofreading Course
The best way to get ahead as a proofreader is to learn from the best in the industry. Take a proofreading course to build your skills and find out what it takes to make it a career.
One of the best proofreading courses I’ve come across is Proofread Anywhere.
Caitlin, a certified proofreader, teaches you everything you need to know to learn the business, get clients and you recieve an official proofreading certificate at the end. It’s self-paced learning so you can go through the content whenever it suits you.
Sign up for the free Proofread Anywhere 76 Minute Workshop here.
6. Learn to Use Proofreading Tools
The majority of documents are edited in Microsoft Word. Learn to use the common editing tools here to succeed as a proofreader. Ones to practice:
- Compare: This allows you to compare the original document, with the new edited document you’re working on
- Track changes: This records the changes made inside the document
- Comment: Here you can leave questions, feedback or comments for clients next to the text that needs attention
Other free tools worth trying out include Grammarly and the Hemmingway App which help with grammar, sentence restructuring, word choice and cutting out the fluff.
7. Apply for Entry Level Proofreading Jobs
So you’ve got the right skills, practiced and decided proofreading is right for you! Now you need to search for beginner-friendly proofreading jobs online.
I recommend taking a two-pronged approach here. Apply for paid work with relevant platforms that take on new proofreaders and set up profiles on freelancer networks such as Fiverr and Upwork. Try these out:
While these platforms don’t require you to have a degree or a formal qualification, they will likely ask you to pass a preliminary test. Make sure you brush up on your grammar and editing skills like mentioned above.
Final Thoughts on How to Become a Proofreader with No Experience
Now you know how to become a proofreader with no experience. If you feel this career is right for you, get started learning and building your skills. The demand for proofreaders is only going to keep rising.
The internet will continue to expand, content is always being written and each piece of text needs a proofreader to make sure it’s error-free. You can get started as a part-time proofreader and when you feel confident, transition into full-time work.
There is no right or wrong way. I started freelance writing part-time. And, now I earn a full-time living writing from home and have time to pursue other side hustles.
Start your career by watching the Proofread Anywhere FREE 76-minute workshop here.
Are you interested in working as a proofreader? Have you found it easy to get paid work? Let me know your experiences in the comments.
More beginner-friendly remote careers:
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- 10 Proofreading Jobs Online No Experience Needed
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*Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own. This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.